I agree with the people who say that breastfeeding should be normal and completely acceptable in society.
What I DON'T agree with is the extremists who insist that if you feel even slightly uncomfortable about it you're a prude, arrogant, a pervert or just plain can't accept nature, therefore insinuating that you are a 'bad person'.
Changing that view is definitely a great concept and certainly needs to be done, but the attitude of "I'll feed my baby when and how I want, and you can just bl00dy well get over it" only serves to set people's opinions back if they're having a hard time accepting the notion.
I have to admit, I can be a bit oblivious to a person feeding in public now. A few weeks back a woman was bfing her bub in a local shopping center. I admit straight out that I was staring. Her bub was wearing the CUTEST little outfit I'd ever seen and being clucky as a mother hen right now I couldn't look away! Took me a moment to realise that I was staring, and a moment later I realised she was frowning at me.
It was very awkward because she was too far away for me to say anything along the lines of "that's a gorgeous outfit, I can't wait to have another baby!" so I think she may have thought I was staring because she was bfing and I thought it was rude or something. Poor lady! The lovely dovey gooey eyed stare I was giving her could have been misconstrued as well. I'm getting soppy over your baby, love, not your boob! Hahahahaha.
I don't think that a breastfeeding mother should have to cover up with a blanket. I do think that said mother should try to act in a way that is considerate of those around her.
It is possible to breastfeed discreetly (with or without a blanket), without exposing everything, and I think that this is what most women do.
Some women do expose everything, and adopt an 'I don't care what you think' attitude, which I think is inconsiderate to those around her. (I'm not talking about a slip, or a wriggling baby - I'm talking about more of a 'Yes, my b00b is out, so what?' attitude). As an example, I know of a lady who would breastfeed in public (no problem), but when changing sides she would leave the other breast out to 'air'. So, baby attached to one breast, and the other one 'airing'.
I think this is not considerate to the fact that people may have felt very uncomfortable, and I also think it was unnecessary.
The things you gave as examples of other things people may not like to see are all things that you may routinely see when out and about. A breastfeeding mum is one of these too. However, a fully exposed breast is not something people routinely see at their local shopping centres.
I think that it's normal for people to find it a little confronting. We (at BH) are all in the 'baby world' and that's where our heads are at. That's not true for the general populace.
I don't think people should have to hide breastfeeding. I do think people should do it in a way that doesn't maximise full breast exposure in places where people may not be expecting to see it.
People have also mentioned that we see more in magazines/ on TV, etc. I disagree with this. What you see there is usually cleavage/ parts of a breast, rather than the whole thing. I think people may still be surprised to see one fully uncovered in a shopping centre.
Just to add my 10c worth- I am considerate of the people around me, if I am having a deep and meaningful with someone who may feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding, I will think about that before I pull my boob out. I don't want to make people uncomfortable. Ultimately though, if my baby is hungry, I WILL feed them, I might just give warning before I start or something.
However in a shopping centre there are a million different places for people to look, I won't 'cover up' on the off chance someone looks at ME and chooses NOT to look away when they feel uncomfortable. In the checkout scenario described by the OP, obviously the mother probably didn't forsee baby pulling off as most women themselves would feel a bit uncomfortable flashing their whole boob to a stranger.
At the end of the day though, its a breast, we are bombarded with images of them constantly so really, its not that big-a deal!
It makes me realise how lucky I am to have been bought up in a place where its completely normal and women literally do walk around the shop with a baby hanging off their boob which is hanging out the top of their dress. I love it!
How about this example: bubhub has alerted me to the fact that some people are uncomfortable with the presence of men in parents rooms. Should they take a softly softly approach or have the attitude that it is my legal right, therefore I will use it.
I don't think I've ever known nor seen a woman deliberately leaving a breast out (have seen it ONCE and it was obviously accidental) after breastfeeding but if she had there is nothing illegal nor immoral about a feeding baby and I don't think waiting for society to catch up THEN feed without a blanket will work. If that's how society worked I doubt we, as women, would even be voting.
Its polite to use a sash or something? I dont want to see this while "sipping my latte"
How many hours sleep had you had the night before you started "sipping your latte"
How many things are you carrying/juggling
How many newborns are urgently crying for a feed from you now, days after labour and birth, making your chest feel tight with stress while you try to fumble everything you're doing and find somewhere comfotable to feed them? How many people are already staring you down just for being in the position you are with a baby trying to give him/her a healthy start to life?
If you're so spoilt
that a stressed out mother who is just trying to feed her bub quickly and efficiently without having to; on top of everything else adjust a sash around her shoulders that
constantly falls off,
overheats her baby and herself,
and makes it almost impossible to see what she is doing and get a good attachment
is wrecking YOUR day, or moment of great effort, "sipping your latte"
Suck it up.
If you feel uncomfortable, or confronted by a boob, thats fine, but seriously, just look away or focus on your coffee for a moment. No mum is out there feeding her bub to inconvenience you. Its disgraceful that mothers who breastfeed are ridiculed when they try to do it. There is enough on their plates and enough sleep deprivation, ridicule and stress without having to add a silly sash to the mix. These mothers are often already struggling with attachment problems and feeling judged/upset/beaten down as it is!
I dont usually go so on side/off side, but this really gets to me..
No wonder there is PND.. No matter what a mother tries to do right, no matter how much pressure and stress she is already under, there is still always people out there dealing with NONE of the responsibility or troubles she is, deciding they no better or that she is doing SOMETHING wrong.
seriously.. lay off the boobie mums.
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If FEELING UNCOMFORTABLE is the worst outcome of 'flopping you're Bo ob out' to BF then count yourself lucky. There are bigger issues in this world.
Hope that makes sense, I'm sleep deprived.
Kip, I strongly agree. This subject gets me hot under the collar, and I was composing a rant in the shower before, but you saved me typing, lol.
Meh. I hang my tits out when I'm wearing clothes (I like to show them off) and nobody complains... and I'm doing that purely because I like looking at them and also kinda like other people looking at them. Not for any purpose, unlike if I was breastfeeding, which would mean my tits were out for an actual good reason.
I don't care if other people are uncomfortable with it. That's their issue, not mine, and it's my legal right to BF wherever I damn well please. Given this, they can sulk all they like - my tits will still be flopped out when I have my next baby and it needs feeding.
I have no responsibility to be discrete.
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